Review: Russian Doll

One of my favourite things outside of regular sci-fi, is almost sci-fi, with aspects of unexplained time travel or time loops. The film Groundhog Day has literally had at least 100 viewings in my home. In fact it’s one of a few movies that gets fished out every time anybody is ill – comfort viewing for the whole family.

So on Groundhog Day this Saturday, Netflix took the opportunity of advertising its new sci-fi-esque mini series (8 episodes of around 20-25 minutes each) Russian Doll and of course I couldn’t resist.

There was no coincidence that it chose Groundhog Day, since Russian Doll has a basic plot in common with Grounday Day: the main character is reliving the same day over and over, except rather than the re-set point being 6:00 am every morning, regardless, the loop starts when she dies, which may be in ten minutes or in two days. And she dies, and dies, and dies over and over again, sometimes hilariously.

The mechanism is never quite explained, although “clues abound”. She is stuck at her 36th birthday party, and I won’t give you any more spoilers, because it is so good, please watch it but be aware that it’s not PG friendly, there is lots of sex and swearing, oh and drugs.

I love that the main character, Nadia, is played by Natasha Lyonne who is also the writer, director and producer why has she never come to my attention before?). I’ve seen Russian Doll hailed as “The Bandersnatch we deserved”, and yes. Nadia as a game programmer, and at one point she declares, “I’m in the game, I’m Kirk Douglas” referring to the 1997 thriller. The idea of Bandersnatch was good, but it was lacking something; it isn’t thrilling or unpredictable in the same way Russian Doll is.

I did personally like the Bandersnatch episode of Black Mirror, but it isn’t a patch on Russian Doll. Watch it, watch it again!

Have you seen it? Tell me what you thought!

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